Posts Tagged ‘Faith’

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I have found that we “Humans”, by far, are the best “worriers” on earth. I think this is true because our list of things to worry about always seems to stretch into infinity.

We worry about our health; and if our doctor says we’re okay, we worry that he has missed something. Worrying about money is arguably second on our list which causes us to worry about gross income, net income, deductions, and taxes and on and on it goes. We also constantly worry about whether our job will still be there for us tomorrow and…We worry about our children…worry, worry, worry.

Guys, the reality is that most of the things we worry about will actually never come to pass, but yet we worry about them anyway. So here is my question for you today…

What does that say about your faith?

 Do you trust God to ACTUALLY take care of you, or is that just lip service?

For you, and me, I have put together a small list of 5 reasons why we should not worry that are taken straight from the Bible and Christ’s own words in order to remind you and me of what God told us to do when we become anxious. So I give you…

 

5 reasons why ALL OF US should not Worry

 

  1. Worry is inconsistent  – Matthew 6:25

If we can trust Jesus to provide us with our very life, why can’t we trust Him to provide for us our daily needs

Its easy to give God control over areas of our lives that aren’t to dangerous or where the fallout of failure wont be too great for us to fix…but isn’t that just lack of faith altogether? If we can trust and believe that He can handle the smaller things then there isn’t any reason not to believe He can handle EVERYTHING for us?

  1. Worry is irrational – Matthew 6:26

If our Lord cares for the birds, will He not also care for us, since we are more valuable than they are?

I understand the fear we feel when we are riding to close to the guardrail of life knowing full well that if we lose control, even for just a moment, we may lose all or a part of what we have. Guys…it truly is called faith for a reason. God has you in circumstances specifically to find out what you will do when you are close to the edge. Will you walk away and just give up? Or will you TRUST HIM and let HIM provide for you?

  1. Worry is ineffective – Matthew 6:27

Who among us can add one cubit to our stature by worrying?

There is no such thing as worry points. We do not become better men because we worry, we become worse. Even Christ asks the question do we somehow get better or grow in stature if we worry? We do not…in fact, we will only make ourselves miserable as well as all of the people around us.

  1. Worry is illogical  – Matthew 6:28-30

If God so clothes the lilies of the field, can He not also clothe us?

Trusting God means we trust Him to take care of us…period. We can’t have it both ways whereby we only trust Him some of the time and not others. Let God work in your life and see where He takes you.

  1. Worry is irreligious – Matthew 6:31-32

When we worry, we act like those who don’t know God.

When we worry, its like we put handcuffs on the God we say we believe in but don’t trust Him enough to pull us through this particular tough event in our lives. Moreover, what do we show unbelievers about following God when at the first point of adversity we take the reigns back from God and say, “I can do a better job than Him”?

One final thought about worry before we end today. When Christ spoke about worry, He just didn’t say “don’t worry” and then He was finished…NO…He also told us How NOT to worry as well which for all of us, is extremely helpful. You will find His answer in Luke 6:33-34 where He says:

But, SEEK FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Honestly guys, that is all there is to this process…seek HIM first, then trust and watch Him work in your life. Let me give you 2 more verses on trust:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;

 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.   (Proverbs 3:6 NKJV)

 

Until next time guys…

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Very near 3 years ago, I wrote this post based upon what I sensed and felt going on in the world at that time; sadness and destruction. As I listen and watch the world news over the last few days, with all of the horrific death and destruction in France, Belgium and the Middle East, I once again seek God for the very same thing…hope.

I cannot provide anyone with the reasons why all of this is happening other than simply the Bible talking about “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4, John 12:31, 1 John 5:19) prowling around seeking to devour (1 Peter 5:8) those who don’t resist him. Believe me my friends, NOW IS THE TIME TO RESIST HIM. Don’t give up but rather look to Him for your hope.

God’s word is clear…”I will never leave you or forsake (forget) you” (Joshua 1:5)

So here again, are my 5 reasons we can have HOPE right now…

By its very nature, the word hope concerns the future, our future. However, I am not referring to a simple hope such as, “I wish I had a nicer car or bigger house”, but rather I am talking about Biblical hope, which is very different. Biblical hope consists of an assurance inside your heart or better yet, a firm confidence about future things because of Gods promises and His revelation to us. Guys, real Biblical hope in Christ Jesus is something that is never failing when you place your trust in Him. In fact Paul tells us in Romans 15:13;

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In other words, Biblical hope is inseparably linked with a firm faith in Him. They go hand-in-hand with one another. As a result, what is yielded is a confident trust in God that is unshakable when the adversity of life hits you like a wave….(Like right now).

So with all of the chaos our world is throwing at you every single day, I wanted to give you some actual reasons why you can still have faith and HOPE that things are going to still be alright…So here are my 5 reasons for all of us to have HOPE right now…

  1. God is still on the throne – He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still alive and at work in our world. I know it is very easy to look at what happens in this world and say God is dead or may he is just sleeping because I have heard that before. But I assure you He is alive and well and knows exactly what is happening on this earth.
  2. With man, things are impossible…but with God, ALL things are possible (Mark 10:27) It is so very easy to just give up and give in to all of the adversity that is constantly thrown in our direction because we simply forget Gods promises. Bottom line, God has NO limitations. His ways are NOT our ways and therefore he will not react or think as we do…our response needs to be to simply ask, to trust, and to hope in Him.
  3. You Are Not Alone – As we are told in Joshua 1:5, He will never leave us nor forsake us and I’ve come to realize that me trying to understand the why’s of this world is NOT my job. My job is to completely trust in Him…even though I don’t understand. LET GOD DO THE HEAVY LIFTING. Do you remember the story of Peter when he got out of the boat and started walking on the water to meet Jesus? (Matthew 14:29-30) He was actually walking on water until he took his eyes off of Christ and then what happened? He started sinking fast…and what was his reaction? He cried, “Lord save me!” which is exactly what we are supposed to do…
  4. All of what you are going through right now is only temporary – Weeping may last for the night…but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). It is easy to “get caught up” with what we SEE. But I am here to remind you that Jesus has prepared a place for all of us IN HEAVEN (John 14:2) and this place we see around us, will all pass away. It is only temporary. Heaven is eternal.
  5. I know how this story ends – All of the difficulty and adversity we face every day sometimes can be overwhelming. In fact, it may seem like the bad guy in this world may be winning. But let me assure you with an overwhelming confidence. Have you ever read Revelation? Because I know who wins in the end. You and I will be victorius.

But you MUST STAY THE COURSE. Don’t give up. Have faith and put your trust in Him and He will give you reason to HOPE…

 

Until next time guys…

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Four years ago, I wrote a blog post simply called Why cant life be easy? Because it kind of fit where I was at that point. Well today, 4 years later, I have reached into the archives because it seems to fit yet again for me. Sometimes none of us can understand the ebb and flow of life’s changes both personally or collectively as a family and how they affect us. Waves roll in and out with some being just annoyances while others knock us off our feet completely. This post is just to serve as a beacon along your journey to NOT give up. Stay the course and stay strong for the people who love you. I hope you enjoy the new and improved version of Why can’t life be easy

 

Have you ever wondered why God allows or even requires the Christian journey to be filled with pain, problems, unhappiness and sometimes misery? Because I have… Why does God put so much emphasis on perseverance, or striving for the prize and winning the race like it says in Philippians?

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

Why cant the Christian walk be more like a Sprint instead of a Marathon?

I believe that all the lessons and experiences we learn through life; the “Iron Sharpening Iron” moments like we read in Proverbs 27:17; the falling down and getting back up opportunities, but most importantly and through the adversity, is our ability to keep our eyes focused on Him in spite of whatever is set against us…

Because the reason why the Christian walk is a marathon and NOT a sprint is because God intended life to be truly ALL about the journey.

God watches how WE handle the problems we face in this world…are we the kind of guy who gives up and just walks away? Or do we get back up on our feet and keep forging ahead?

Guys, listen to me here because I truly believe that the ones that can pick themselves up from the problem and still keep their eyes on Him…They are the ones that I firmly believe God has chosen to surround Himself in eternity.

 

Life is hard…there I said it…but don’t just give up and let it overwhelm you! Fight back…

 

One of my favorite warriors of the Bible was David who wrestled with these very same questions. Look at what he says to God in Psalms:

Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalms 10:1

The reality is that David, one of the greatest men in the Bible, struggled just like us. He wrestled with pain and suffering and he cried out to God continuously…and do you know what?

God did NOT forsake him.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, Lord, for you have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalms 9:9-10

Guys, this post is titled, Why can life be easy because many times we cant help but ask that question. I encourage you today, as we move into the holiday season to remember that God hasn’t left you during these times of difficulty but rather He is right there next to you lifting you up. Just hang on and trust because someday here is what we, the ones who have persevered, have to look forward to:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21: 3-5

Guys, enjoy the journey that you are on and keep the faith because ultimately you will overcome.

 

Until next time Guys…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I know that a great deal has been written about Abraham, the patriarch of the Old Testament and honestly far more than I could ever begin to convey in a single blog post. The same thing can be said about how many times you or I have heard someone speak about this Abraham in our lifetimes. He is not only important to the Christian faith, but also to Muslims as well because he was the father of Ismael, who as it mentions in Genesis 16:12, was against everyone.

This man will be like a wild donkey. His hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him; he will live at odds with all his brothers.

Interesting verse, isn’t it? But let’s get back to Abraham because he does something in his lifetime that caused God to award him with status that I know all of us would give anything to have. God saw something very different in Abraham that gave Him confidence in knowing that He could essentially start over with the Jewish nation. Abraham was special in the eyes of God and that has always struck me…what made him different? What did he do that would cause the Creator to think in his mind, “that is my guy”? “He is the one I am going to work with” “I am gambling on him”.

When you read about Abraham you can see right away that he is a doer. He is a man of action when the situation calls for this. He wrestled with God over the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. He rescued his nephew Lot and his family when they were captured. But what I found most interesting with the story of Abraham is that “doing” is not what caused God to find so intriguing about him…it was Abrahams “believing” that actually moved God. In fact, the verse in the center of this post is what made me write this in the first place is in Genesis:

Abram believed the Lord, and He credited it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15:12

Think about this for a moment…for the very first time in the Bible, we see faith and righteousness mentioned together. Why is this so important? Because of this statement:

By Abraham just simply believing in God…down deep his heart, God gave him a right standing or a “different” standing with Him.

Abraham’s heart was turned toward God in an enduring trust, obedience and submissive relationship. Because of that rock solid belief, it changed his status with the Creator of this universe. Abraham didn’t conquer the greatest army in the world or climb the highest mountain…all he did was believe, and that belief caused his position with God…to be BETTER.

Guys, in almost every post I have ever written here on IronManStrength, I have expressed the fact that living in this imagesworld, as a Christian, is not an easy road. I don’t say that to depress you, I say it to encourage you because of the amazing journey we are all on together. What I find extremely encouraging about the story of Abraham is simply the fact that even though what he saw in front of him was contrary to what God told him…He still believed. Here was a guy who was told his offspring would out number the stars and this would all begin with his very own son…and he was over 100 years old and his wife was a ripe young 95…but, guess what? He still believed…

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.”  He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then the Lord said to him, “So shall your offspring be. Genesis 15: 4-5

Guys, hear me out for a second…how does this really apply to you? How does the story of some old guy who lived over 2000 years ago make a difference to any of us right now? It’s simple really…

Abraham had problems – we have problems

Abraham had struggles – we have struggles

Abraham had family issues – all of us have family issues

God spoke to Abraham – God can speak to us

The difference:

ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD

Not lip service…but real belief…that is truly what it comes down to guy’s…actual belief that God can do what He says He can.

When you believe God inside your core that He can be trusted…your relationship with Him changes. When you are obedient and submissive toward God and not allow that arrogance inside all of us to show through…things will change.

I encourage you to take your own belief to the next level by trusting God.

Establish a “right standing” with Him…

Do you Believe?

Until next time guys…

 

 

 

 

perseverence

I was walking through our plant the other day and noticed an employee really struggling with a machine he was trying to operate. This guy was working hard, sweating and really under some pressure but what I found strange was his boss was nowhere to be found? As I surveyed the area closely, my eye came across his supervisor far off in a corner…almost hidden. When I went to see what he was doing, he told me he had his eye on this guy from a distance and he wanted to see how this young man would handle this equipment problem on his own. I turned around and looked back at the employee again with his head underneath the machine trying desperately to get the thing to run right and then I looked back at the supervisor…Clearly he noticed the look on my face and he said, “this is the kind of problem that can produce perseverance in someone”. I said, “perseverance?” where did that come from?” He said, “I have been doing this a long time…In my younger days, I would run right over right and help the newbies every time they needed help…but I learned over time, this method really didn’t help them…What they needed was to persevere through the problem until they figured out the solution on their own, then they became the kind of operator I wanted working for me”. I said, “Very impressive…and I agree with you”. But of course, that got me thinking about his lesson to this young man. So I went to the dictionary and I found the word; perseverance:

Continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.

Wow…I know the word and I use the word all the time but when I saw what it meant, I was kind of shocked. Perseverance was the word that was meant for our Iron Sharpens Iron blog audience…this is the foundation we are built upon because perseverance is exactly what God wants Christian men to have…a little fortitude…a little toughness and a whole lot of perseverance.

Even more important, God has something to say on this subject and I found the scripture to back this up for us:

Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:2-4

So now it makes perfect sense right? Do you remember that poor guy at the beginning of my post that was struggling mightily to get that piece of equipment to run? Well ultimately… he was successful and that success has made him a better employee…all because of the simple test his boss put him through…but I will point out one key point here…

HE DID NOT GIVE UP…He kept at it, even though it was hard…

And that is why God tells us that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. He already knew before you were made all of the various predicaments you were going to find yourself in that ultimately would be opportunities to show that you can “get up off of the mat” when you are knocked down. So don’t just lay there…get up!

If you are a Christian, you will be tested. If you are tested, then hang in there because you just read a few lines ago that this same testing and adversity will produce a character quality that is huge for you…perseverance…

Because when you finally achieve the ability to keep on, keeping on, in other words, perseverance. God will truly look down from heaven and smile on you…why?

Because He understands everything YOU went through to get there and He admires the person you became as a result…

Let me leave you with this verse:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12

Until next time Guys…

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I found myself complaining the other day about something I now don’t even remember what it was about but it got me thinking about fundamentally why my first reaction was to grumble about the issue in the first place? Have you ever done that before? When something happens the way you don’t want it to your first reaction is to gripe about it? It can be about small or even stupid things like “why don’t you do this right?” or, “why can’t you put this away correctly?”…But the fact I was doing this got me thinking about complaining or the idea of complaining for really no good reason at all.

I think you would agree with me that there are people in this world who should be complaining or have a more valid reason to complain. For example, when you don’t have enough food to feed your family or when you have lost your job through no fault of your own…those are the folks that should be complaining. But what I find interesting is in some cases, these are the people who don’t say anything. They just go about their business and go on surviving. If they lose their job, they work to find another one. If they can’t feed their family, they find another job to make some more money to help. Please don’t misunderstand me here, this is not a commentary on work ethic or our society, it is my observation that when the going gets rough, there are people out there who simply DO and don’t complain about it.

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Mark Woodard speak about his life experiences and his insatiable desire to be positive and to persevere, no matter what his circumstances. Guys, never in my life have I heard someone who should simply complain about his life and what has happened to him. Quick summary, when he was 10, a shotgun went off and blew half his face away. After many surgeries, he survived but he was totally blind. After receiving a 7-figure settlement, his drug-addicted mother stole most of his money and later on, a girl friend would steal the rest. Through many various struggles as a ward of the state, fights, adversity like I have never seen before, this guy struggles on. He won’t even think of quitting. He is now 25, and working to get a degree to teach blind people skills that he had to learn on his own. What I find inspiring is his perspective because complaining is not an option to him. He simply keeps persevering no matter what the odds are stacked against him. As I listened, I found myself asking what would I have done in his situation? Would I have persevered in the face of so many obstacles, or just given up? The fact that I began this blog with a confession that I was complaining about something unimportant made me realize that I wasn’t proud of myself in this area. Mark has somehow learned how to be content and persevere no matter what he faces in his life…and he can’t even see. Then I remembered something the Apostle Paul said in Philippians that brought the answer to me in a way I could understand:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:11-13

Suddenly I feel really stupid about complaining about anything. Sure, I have faced adversity in my life…we all have. But the key is understanding how to be content and NOT complain. The key is to keep on seeking God and persevering with all of our might…even when it makes no sense for us to do so. God has promised to never leave us or forget us…

 

Let me leave you with this very simple thought:

 

No matter what your circumstances may be, there is always something to be thankful for…

 

Until next time guys…

Have you ever sat down and thought about why God created Earth and why He decided to create all of us? Do you ever wonder if He regrets making that decision? I often wonder about things like that because collectively, we only seem to give the God of Heaven grief. But yet even as I have found out the hard way…God is still faithful to us even when we are not. Paul makes this exact point in Romans 3:3-4. So just to quickly reset the issue here…He still loves us (you and me) and is faithful to us even when we ignore Him? But let us this statement a giant leap forward and ask this question; With all of the sin and shame we continually drag around each day…With all of the horrible things that man has done throughout history…why did He, the omnipotent, omnipresent, Creator, create this opportunity for you and me to be with Him forever in Heaven?

David asked the same question when he said in Psalms 8:4, what is man that you are mindful of him?

The answer to this question is actually very simple..He loves us…that is the reason…and if you read the Bible, you will see evidence of that because it is filled with examples of His love for all of us and all His creation. But what kind of God is He that He would allow the sacrifice of His own son for a group of people who are so sinful? But yet, that is what Christ did and because of that ultimate act of love, you and I have an opportunity for this amazing thing called salvation.

The Apostle Paul tells us that to obtain salvation, we can be saved by grace through faith. God extends His olive branch of grace down to us knowing full well we can’t get to Heaven on our own, but because of Christ’s sacrifice, we can….all we have to do is believe. True salvation starts with belief in your heart. He asks us to seek, to trust and to believe in Him…but to believe in something we do not see with our own eyes.

The author of Hebrews in Hebrews 11:1 said it this way:
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said ” All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen”

Faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior is the only condition God requires for salvation. But you still have to believe in what you cannot see…

So as I sit and contemplate this I begin to understand my part in all of this process. We live in a very difficult world, and frankly, getting more painful by the day. Every second of the day, We are bombarded by everything this world has to offer. There is no way we can avoid its influence hitting us in the face. God’s plan is for you and me to navigate this life journey by trusting in Him, by believing in Him…a God that we cannot see.

We are presented with countless stories from the bible about amazing faith like David when he defeated the giant Goliath. It never crossed his mind that the giant would or could defeat him…his faith was so strong that he trusted in God to help him get victory…and it happened. But David believed in God yet he could not see Him…


Do you remember the story of Abraham? God promised him to be the father of nations and yet at 100 years old he still had no son of his own. But yet he still believed that God had the power to do what He had promised. That was true faith. Faith that could endure, trust, obey and still grew stronger.

But why is faith so important for us as believers? Why does the plan of God for us to get to Heaven require faith in Him, the unseen?

Hebrews 11:6 says,

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Seek Him…and believe…

True faith in God means you are trusting in Him to help guide you through the narrow path in this world. When you are trusting, you are not consciously trying to do things yourself, you are relying on God the Father to give you direction. True faith, as hard as is this is to swallow, is being obedient to Him, just like Abraham was. Obedience is not really a word this generation likes to hear but yet true obedience, is what leads us to this powerful faith and trust in Him. Simply put, this is how God created the path to salvation.

The only way we will make it to Heaven is to believe in God even though we cannot see Him.I know I have emphasized that point throughout this post but I want to make sure you realize what is expected of you. Faith in God means to stand strong and endure no matter what the cost. Faith is a day by day commitment to Him. Faith is trusting in a God that promises to never leave us not forget us. This kind of Faith, this kind of never say die commitment to Him…will earn you your personal set of keys to Gods Kingdom…

So I tell you this…be strong, persevere, and don’t lose your grip on Him because He will NOT lose His grip on you…

Until next time guys…